Sarah Johnson’s salty debut novel, The Lightkeeper’s Wife, is everything historical fiction should be: an ode to a simpler period and place (in this case, 19th century Cape Cod), while complicating issues that are relevant today – making and breaking gender and sexual norms.
Alone on the tip of the cape, Hannah Snow is on the verge of her most heroic rescue yet.
On 19th century Cape Cod, Hannah Snow shouldn’t even be in the water. Her husband, John, would be furious-it’s his job to tend to Dangerfield Light. It’s certainly not women’s work, and his quick trips out of town don’t give her permission to rush toward the tattered ships. But she does, and though she can’t save everyone, William “Billy” Pike, is someone she can. He’s recuperating in her care when John’s horse is found abandoned. Hannah invites Billy to stay as a hired hand-but soon discovers that he is not at all whom she thought he was. When everything holding her together falls apart, can Hannah learn how to save herself?